Can lightning strike twice?

Saturday 1st June, 4:30pm

City Of Troy @ 10/3
Los Angeles @ 9/2
Ambiente Friendly @ 6/1
Ancient Wisdom @ 6/1
Dancing Gemini @ 11/1
view odds

*prices correct at time of writing. 

It is the 245th staging of the Derby; eat your hearts out football, cricket and tennis, racing’s premier event has been going since 1780. The 2024 staging is amongst the most open ever with no stand-out performer – at present.

The draw matters, and since the introduction of stalls in the 1960s, no winner has ever emerged from berths 2, 11 or 16 – bad news for Sayedaty Sadaty (2), Ancient Wisdom (11) and Voyage (16) – and City Of Troy’s position in number 1 isn’t a whole lot better as he and his stablemates attempt to extend Aidan O’Brien’s record of nine victories.

Can lightning strike twice? Well, that’s what O’Brien has to pull off with City Of Troy as he attempts to emulate Auguste Rodin by winning at Epsom having been totally stuffed in the 2000 Guineas.

Prior to beating only two home behind Notable Speech, the son of Justify was being spoken of in tones of rapt admiration; the word from Ballydoyle is that they were being too easy on him.

The trainer has the finest of records in the race but not always with the most fancied, and Los Angeles has come in for sustained support. He’s three from three on a range of ground, and although he didn’t pull up any trees at Leopardstown – when beating Coolmore’s third runner Euphoric – he’s expected to gobble up the extra quarter-mile.

Ancient Wisdom’s six-length defeat by Economics in the Dante is clearly good form, and Godolphin’s Dubawi colt saw off three of these in the Futurity at Doncaster.

Of those, God’s Window (third) was well held (again) in the Dante while Deira Mile (fourth) showed his well-being when easily winning at Windsor; most interesting of the trio, however, could be Dancing Gemini (fifth), the slightly luckless runner-up in the French Guineas and a first ride at Epsom for Ireland’s wunderkid-jockey Dylan Browne McMonagle which should relish going up in distance.

And then there’s Ambiente Friendly, the Lingfield Trial winner under the controversially-replaced Callum Shepherd when putting in a stylish performance in a good time. Ground and course shouldn’t present issues, and although there are stamina queries on pedigree, on-track performances are positive on that front.

Any one of about eight might win but Ambiente Friendly ticks most boxes for me – what about you?

Persica (1-25) looks well-in considering his form against the 2000 Guineas winner and lost little in defeat at Newbury.

Astral Beau (2-00) was a close third last year and comes into this in similar heart (probably ignore last time when things didn’t pan out).

In the Dash (3-45) Democracy Dilemma has been thriving, and put in a fine effort with a big weight over course and distance this time last year.

Callum Shepherd is watching on from down the road at Lingfield where he’s supported by a wide variety of trainers and is takes a rare ride for Sir Michael Stoute on the interesting Everywhere (6-10).

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